Cover image for The king's grave : the discovery of Richard III's lost burial place and the clues it holds
Title:
The king's grave : the discovery of Richard III's lost burial place and the clues it holds
Author:
Langley, Philippa.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First U.S. Edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2013.
Physical Description:
xxvii, 288 pages : color illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Summary:
This is the first full-length book about the discovery of Richard III's remains by the person who led the archeology team and the historian whose book spurred her on. The mystery of who Richard III really was has fascinated historians, readers and audiences familiar with Shakespeare's dastardly portrait of a hunchback monster of royalty for centuries. Earlier this year, the remains of a man with a curving spine, who possibly was killed in battle, were discovered underneath the paving of a parking lot in Leicester, England. Phillipa Langley, head of The Richard III Society, spurred on by the work of the historian Michael Jones, led the team who uncovered the remains, certain that she had found the bones of the monarch. When DNA verification later confirmed that the skeleton was, indeed, that of King Richard III, the discovery ranks among the great stories of passionate intuition and perseverance against the odds. The news of the discovery of Richard's remains has been widely reported by the British as well as worldwide and was front page news for both the New York Times and The Washington Post. Many believe that now, with King Richard III's skeleton in hand, historians will finally begin to understand what happened to him following the Battle of Bosworth Field (twenty miles or so from Leicester) and, ultimately, to know whether he was the hateful, unscrupulous monarch of Shakespeare's drama or a much more benevolent king interested in the common man. Written in alternating chapters, with Richard's 15th century life told by historian Michael Jones (author of the critically acclaimed Bosworth - 1485) contrasting with the 21st century eyewitness account of the search and discovery of the body by Philippa Langley, The King's Grave is both an extraordinary portrait of the last Plantagenet monarch and the inspiring story of the archaeological dig that finally brings the real King Richard III into the light of day. - Publisher.

The head of The Richard III Society recounts the search that led to the unearthing of the last Plantagenet monarch's remains--a discovery that sheds light on what happened to the king following the Battle of Bosworth Field.

The mystery of who Richard III really was has fascinated historians for centuries. In 2013, the remains of a man with a curving spine, who possible was killed in battle, were discovered underneath the paving of a parking lot in Leicester, England. Langley led the team of who uncovered the remains, certain that she had found the bones of the monarch. DNA verification later confirmed that the skeleton was, indeed, that of King Richard III. Langley and Jones provides a portrait of the last Plantagenet monarch-- and the story of the archaeological dig that finally brought him into the light of day.
Language:
English
Contents:
The road to the dig -- The great debate -- So it begins -- Yearning for a noble cause: Richard's early career -- The discovery of the church and the location of the nave -- Seizing the throne -- The discovery of the skeletal remains -- Richard as king -- The identification of the remains -- Bosworth -- The man behind the myth -- The man and his times.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9781250044105
Format :
Book

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Status
Clarence Library DA260 L34 2013 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

The first full-length book about the discover of Richard III's remains by the person who led the archeology team and the historian whose book spurred her on

The mystery of who Richard III really was has fascinated historians, readers and audiences familiar with Shakespeare's dastardly portrait of a hunchback monster of royalty for centuries. Earlier this year, the remains of a man with a curving spine, who possible was killed in battle, were discovered underneath the paving of a parking lot in Leicester, England. Phillipa Langley, head of The Richard III Society, spurred on by the work of the historian Michael Jones, led the team of who uncoveredthe remains, certain that she had found the bones of the monarch. When DNA verification later confirmed that the skeleton was, indeed, that of King Richard III, the discovery ranks among the great stories of passionate intuition and perseverance against the odds. The news of the discovery of Richard's remains has been widely reported by the British as well as worldwide and was front page news for both the New York Times and The Washington Post . Many believe that now, with King Richard III's skeleton in hand, historians will finally begin to understand what happened to him following the Battle of Bosworth Field (twenty miles or so from Leicester) and, ultimately, to know whether he was the hateful, unscrupulous monarch of Shakespeare's drama or a much more benevolent king interested in the common man. Written in alternating chapters, with Richard's 15th century life told by historian Michael Jones (author of the critically acclaimed Bosworth - 1485 ) contrasting with the 21st century eyewitness account of the search and discovery of the body by Philippa Langley, The King's Grave will be both an extraordinary portrait of the last Plantagenet monarch and the inspiring story of the archaeological dig that finally brings the real King Richard III into the light of day.


Author Notes

PHILIPPA LANGLEY is a screenwriter and producer who inaugurated and led the successful archaeological search to locate King Richard III's grave in Leicester. Her 90 minute documentary about the search for King Richard with Channel Four / Darlow Smithson Productions was aired on 4th February 2013. She won the Richard III Society's Robert Hamblin Award in 2012. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. The King's Grave is her first book.

MICHAEL JONES is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and member of the British Commission for Military History and now works freelance as a writer and media presenter. He has written eight books, including The King's Mother, his highly-praised biography of Margaret Beaufort which was shortlisted for the Whitfield Prize, and Bosworth 1485: Psychology of a Battle , regarded as a seminal work on Richard III and the battle of Bosworth . He lives in England.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In September 2012, the remains of England's Richard III, whose two-year reign marked the end of the Plantagenet dynasty and a long, bloody civil war, were exhumed from under a Leicester car park. Langley, who spearheaded the dig and a related TV documentary, and medieval historian Jones (Bosworth 1485), sought a more nuanced and complex Richard, hoping to quash the caricature of the murderous, hunchbacked psychopath vilified by Tudor propagandists and Shakespeare alike. Richard's skeleton exhibited severe scoliosis, but the disability didn't hamper his martial skills in battles that restored his brother Edward IV to the throne in 1471. The skeleton's wounds likely show that this last English king to die in battle led a courageous and carefully planned cavalry charge at Bosworth against an inexperienced, fearful Henry Tudor luckily saved by mercenary French pikemen. Moreover, the authors argue that Richard was an idealistic king with a keen sense of justice and humor. It is a solid, perceptive work that rights historical injustices, but Langley's recalling of premonitory goose bumps at Richard's lost grave and her hiring a graphologist to interpret Richard's handwriting is off-putting, and her passion devolves at times into cheerleading. Illus. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Langley, who spearheaded the search for Richard III's grave, and independent historian Jones (Bosworth 1485: Psychology of a Battle) alternate chapters in this volume, with Langley describing the successful expedition to find Richard III's remains and the historian offering a comprehensive yet concise history of Richard's reign. Jones seeks to provide a more nuanced view of the king than Shakespeare's famous depiction of a scheming and murderous ruler. Despite the short turnaround from the successful search for Richard's grave and this publication, the authors present two well-realized and complete narratives, both of which are accessible and fresh. Taken together they form a popular history combining an intriguing mystery, the moving story of Langley's personal journey, and a revisionist portrait of Richard. While using new information, such as from studies made of the discovered remains and details of a psychological interpretation of Richard to show a more intricate representation of the king, is certainly valuable, at times readers may feel that Langley and Jones, both affiliated with the Richard III Society, portray Richard through rose-tinted glasses, always giving him the benefit of the doubt. VERDICT This title will appeal to general readers with any level of interest in or knowledge of the time period or the historical figures within, especially since the subject matter is newly topical owing to the publicity concerning the discovery of Richard's bones.-Ben Neal, Sullivan Cty. P.L., Bristol, TN (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Two histories, centuries apart but related, are narrated in this book. Historian Jones provides a brief and judicious account of the life and brief reign of King Richard III of England, who was defeated and killed in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and of the posthumous reputation of the king, epitomized by Shakespeare's vilification. Langley writes of her inspiration to search for the king's lost grave. Her intuition and inexhaustible determination, informed, in particular, by the desk-based historical and genealogical research of John Ashdown-Hill, led to field archaeology in a car park in the city of Leicester. In 2012, 527 years to the day after Richard's burial, bones were discovered that subsequent laboratory analysis of mitochondrial DNA proved to be those of King Richard. There was no withered arm; scoliosis, but no hunchback. The discovery of the king's grave was the result of impressive interdisciplinary efforts, and the story should appeal to a wide audience. Maps, photographs, family trees, and time lines support the text. One appendix discusses the mystery of the disappearance of Richard's nephews, the Princes in the Tower. Summing Up: Recommended. All public and academic levels/libraries. A. C. Reeves emeritus, Ohio University


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